Remember family dinners at Grandma’s house? The enticing scents wafting through the kitchen would draw everyone in to assemble at the table to savor her home cooking. There were always plenty of leftovers for future meals or late-night snacks.
Unfortunately, a healthy diet for many older adults may be difficult to achieve. The day-to-day reality might be that seniors are facing one of a number of challenges to good nutrition, such as:
- Not wanting to bother with preparing a nutritious meal for just one or two people
- Health conditions that make it difficult to tend to the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking
- Medication side effects that impact appetite or how food tastes
- Decreased smell and/or taste
Overcoming the Hurdles to Good Senior Nutrition
For seniors facing the challenges above, or any others, these suggestions can help.
- If loneliness during mealtime is an issue, older adults can network with friends for potluck dinners, trying out new recipes together, or going out for meals. Other options include congregate meals at senior centers, Meals On Wheels, or a companion caregiver in St. Louis from Compassionate Nursing Services.
- Grocery shopping and preparing meals may be taxing. There are a number of companies that now offer healthy, ready-made meals delivered right to your home. Grocery delivery service or curbside pickup are also ideal for seniors. A caregiver from Compassionate Nursing Services is also here to pick up groceries, prepare meals, and clean up the kitchen afterwards.
- Decreased taste or smell might make foods unappetizing, but adding herbs and spices to recipes can help. Be sure to limit salt, however. Try bright-colored fruits and vegetables in differing textures for textural and visual appeal.
- Review medications with the prescribing physician to find out if there are alternative treatment options that won’t impact the older adult’s appetite.
Simple Steps to Better Senior Nutrition
- Stay on track by utilizing these strategies for a healthy diet for older adults.
- Choose foods that are high in nutrients but lower in calories, like vegetables and fruits, whole grains, seafood and lean meats, beans, seeds, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Skip (or at least limit) the quantity of empty calorie foods, such as cookies and other baked goods, chips, candy, soda, and alcohol.
- Stay hydrated. Many seniors lose the feeling of thirst as they start to get older, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day, whether feeling thirsty or not.
- Physical activity can help boost appetite. Talk to the physician for a recommended exercise program.
For additional helpful resources related to enhancing senior nutrition, as well as for hands-on assistance with overcoming the difficulties being faced, contact Compassionate Nursing Services at 314-432-4312. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our award-winning care, please visit our Service Area page.